An atlas of the journey of the Vietnam envoys in the 18th century.
Over the last 700 years, from Thuan Hoa Region (since 1036) to Phu Xuan Capital under the Tay Son dynasty (from 1788 to 1801), the capital of the Nguyen dynasty (from 1802 to 1945), and then Thua Thien Hue today, Hue culture has left a deep impression on Vietnamese culture.
The values of Hue culture are not merely the values of palaces, pavilions, walls and tombs associated with particular natural elements; but also the subtlety and the creativeness in the decorative art; the most original are the decorative styles “one verse, one picture” and “one character, one picture”.They were formed at the same time of the planning and the building of Hue constructions (1802-1945). They were chosen from Nguyen emperors’ famous works, then encrusted, inlaid, carved, enameled or covered in alto-relievo with plaster, porcelain and terra-cotta.
The contents are about confirming the national independence and the sovereignty of the country, reflecting some policies of the court, singing the praises of grass and trees, flowers and leaves, and holding up the poets’ talent.
The art values of verse, character and picture panels are expressed in the form of one verse panel with one picture panel or one character panel with one picture panel creating a unique style of Hue royal architectural decoration. They are art works of high values in the decoration of Hue royal constructions serving as a picture as well as a unique handicraft work which show the talent of the past artisans. In spite of war devastation, natural disasters and the impact of human beings for a long period of time, this original decorative literary type in Hue, the old capital, is still well conserved. In 1993, Hue Monuments Complex was recognized as the World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. And right in Hue, a world heritage, contains a rare and unique documentary heritage which creates a particular style of Hue royal architectural decorative art.
The Phuc Giang School woodblocks created by the Nguyen Huy family during their cultural activities between the 18th–20th centuries were used for teaching and learning at Phuc Giang School, Truong Luu village.
The woodblocks represent a selection of books which the Nguyen Huy family’s members compiled and put in writing. They also had them engraved onto woodblocks at specified times and places. Thus, the woodblocks look elaborate, with beautiful calligraphic styles. They contain abundant information on the then Vietnam in many aspects: history, politics, society, ideology, culture, external relations, and the adoption and development of Confucianism. Furthermore, they keep the handwritings of five teachers, writers and poets belonging to three generations of the Nguyen Huy family, together with their seals and family insignias, which testify to their copyright ownership of the documentation.
As documentary heritage, the Phuc Giang School woodblocks show the significance of Confucianism for the Vietnamese royal court, nation and society of the 18th – early 20th centuries, particularly for the training of gifted students. They are the original documentation which attests to the cultural and educational activities of a family in history. Each woodblock itself is a unique work of art. All the Phuc Giang School woodblocks are now kept at the Nguyen Huy family in Truong Luu village, Truong Loc commune, Can Loc district, Ha Tinh province. They are the only and oldest woodblocks on culture, education and Confucian examinations which have ever been preserved to date by a family in Vietnam.
Nguyen dynasty’s Imperial records are administrative records of the Nguyen dynasty, the last feudal dynasty in Vietnam which existed from 1802 to 1945. The collection was created during the Nguyen dynasty as part of its state management activitie. It includesrecords created by grass-root to central organizations in its administrative system submitted to the Emperors for approval, records created by the Emperors, diplomatic notes and literature works composed by the royal family.
Records the names and related information of doctoral laureates who passed the 82 royal examinations over this period and formed the core of Vietnam’s civil service.
The 82 stone steles which are preserved at Van Mieu – Quoc Tu Giam historical site record names of the laureates of Royal Examinations of Le and Mac Dynasties were erected between 1484 and 1780 to commemorate the Royal examinations held between 1442 and 1779. Each inscription contains details such as the date, the names and official posts of the inscription compilers, revisers, calligraphers, and engravers. Steles of each historic period are distinct from the others through features such as designs, decorative patterns, tortoise-shaped bases, and the type of Chinese characters used for their inscriptions preserve the stele’s originality and prevent attempts to produce replicas. The steles vividly document the 300 years’ history of training and recruiting talented individuals in Viet Nam under the Le and Mac dynasties, as well as similar practices outside of Viet Nam
Over 3,000 woodblocks, engraved from 1871 to 1932, containing Buddhist sutras and other documents of the Truc Lam Zen sect in the Nôm script. This distinctly Vietnamese Buddhist tradition has spread to many countries.